Third Democratic Primary Debate

Musa Jabbour

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This past Thursday, the third democratic presidential debate was held in Houston. There were ten democratic candidates up on the stage with only one minute and 45 seconds to answer the questions made by the moderators. Though the time given wasn’t enough to answer the questions, it’s fair to say that many candidates made some bold statements.

As democrats, it was obvious that they agreed overall on the topics, but like in the past debates, the question was how they were going to achieve it. From health care to gun control, the candidates were going after each other. While many were going for Biden or Sanders for being too old to run for President, Kamala Harris was attacked for where she stood with criminal justice reform. Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, and Andrew Yang made some strong arguments, but they weren’t as strong as people expected them to be. As for the rest, they weren’t able to voice their opinion the way they wanted to.

Health Care 

All the candidates agreed that health care should be for all. Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, and Beto O’Rourke agreed that American people should be able to choose between a public or private insurance. Joe Biden’s plan, he described it as a “Mediace-like government insurance policy to be available to all working-age Americans alongside private insurance policies.” However, Sanders, author of the “Medicare for All” bill argued that it’s the government’s job to provide healthcare for everyone in the U.S. Warren; Yang and Booker also support the “Medicare for All” legislation. Amy Klobuchar has a different opinion, she wants to expand coverage through a public option available through Medicare or Medicaid.

Gun Control 

With gun control, all candidates agreed with a universal background check. However,  Beto O’Rourke had a stronger opinion. “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47”,he said when one of the moderators asked him about gun control, however, time was running short and he wasn’t able to explain how he is going to accomplish this. This made the viewers mad, arguing that there’s not enough time for candidates to open up about the issues they support and how they are going to get it done. Though all candidates agreed that military weapons shouldn’t be sold to the public, O’Rourke was the only to make such a bold statement that led him to a standing ovation from the crowd.

Immigration

Joe Biden said the U.S system is “broken” but can be fixed with a secure border “without tossing aside our values… and our humanity.” Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker  supported pathways to citizenship for people in the U.S, and are opposed to the separation of families. Kamala Harris supports “Medicare for All” that would cover immigrants in the U.S. illegally. Amy Klobuchar supported the DREAM Act, and proposed more money for border security. Beto O’Rourke proposed to end family separations and to end “Muslim Bans.” Bernie Sanders wanted new visa rules that will make permanent residency easier for qualified immigrants. Andrew Yang wanted to provide permanent residency for people living illegally in the U.S. that would put them on an 18-year path to citizenship. Overall, all candidates agreed that separating families is inhumane and money is needed for border security.

Outcomes of the Debate 

Though many issues were touched overall during the debate, people are concerned that other issues were not paid much importance, such as climate change. Many critics have said that the past three debates have all been the same: a group of people attacking each other and repeating the same thing. While many issues were not touched during this debate, President Donald Trump’s was mentioned plenty of times. “President Trump you spent the last two-and-a-half years full-time trying to sow hate and division among us and that is why we’ve got nothing done. You have used hate, intimidation, fear, and over 12,00 lies as a way to distract from your failed policies and you broken promises. The only reason you’ve not been indicted is because there was a memo, and the Department of Justice that says a sitting President cannot be charged with a crime,” said Kamala Harris minutes into the debate. The concern of people is that candidates are only focused into defeating President Donald Trump; they are forgetting the issue they are trying to get across. Now we will just have to wait and see if future debates will change or if it will all be the same again.